'Smash' recap: Episode 3, 'Mr. DiMaggio'

Sex! Scandal! Bruno Mars! This week on "Smash," Joe DiMaggio is cast while everyone is either sleeping around or thinking about it. Metro's theater critic recaps.

Just in case anyone forgot, Ivy and Derek are indeed sleeping together. Right now in fact, at the top of the show. Of all the things we wish were a fake-out. Speaking of tops, that seems to be Ivy’s forte, which is something we could have lived without knowing/seeing, but we thought we’d explain that helpful tidbit just in case you all had some bets on that. And if you’re wondering if it’s forbidden, secretive, passionate sex, we’ll remind you that this is airing Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC so … no, not really, but we get the sense that it’s probably supposed to be.


We also learn it's three weeks until the start of rehearsals, and they've only finished eight songs and half the book for "Marilyn! The Musical." Ivy says that in the meantime she wants to work more on Marilyn, but Derek jokes that they already are working on that, right now. This seems insulting to Ivy, who apparently misunderstood this little fling as something super serious that shouldn’t be joked about. We only wish we could laugh, Ivy.


Passing the Hirschfeld on 45th with lattes, Ivy and a friend (a girl, not her dancer spy) gossip about the fact that Ivy’s got it all: the role of a lifetime, the steamy sex with an “evil” director. But something’s nagging at the back of her mind: Could it be that Ivy got the part because she’s sleeping with Derek? This concept seems to upset her, even though having the part and sleeping with the director seemed extol-worthy a few seconds ago. Apparently they lose their glossy appeal when they’re not mutually exclusive. Life ain’t a fairy-tale, honey. Ivy needs to spend some quality time with Karen’s parents so that they can give her some bon mots like that and keep her grounded. Then again, Ivy might just wind up sleeping with Karen’s dad. We’re not shrinks or anything, but we’re going with daddy issues for this girl. The friend gives her advice in the meantime, “Just enjoy the sex. Stop thinking about it.” We’re not sure thinking too much is Ivy’s problem.


ANJELICA HUSTON is selling her jewelry because she’s broke but still financing a musical somehow. In the true nature of rich people who don’t know how to scrape by, she can’t leave without buying some knock-off earrings that were inspired by Marilyn’s in “The Seven Year Itch.” Of course they were.


Karen is walking into a bar and we prepare ourselves for some sappy scene with Boyfriend, but no, she’s here meeting Derek. That two-timer! He says he just wants to go over what happened, and Karen tries to say she’s not interested in hearing it. Why did she come then? She just can’t say no to a questionable late-night rendezvous with this dark, mysterious Brit. He says things were moving and changing too fast, so they needed someone with more experience to pick up on it. Karen tries to graciously accept her rejection and extract herself from this uncomfortable convo. Derek asks if Karen would like to be in the ensemble as a consolation prize, and she says it would be a wonderful opportunity, and he patronizingly replies, “Well done.” This is someone who seems like he should be slapped a lot more often than he actually is. Maybe Eileen will throw a drink in his face at some point, at least.

Annnnd here’s Boyfriend. He crashed Karen’s date with the director, which is creepy and rude and weird. He kisses Karen possessively to claim her, because he’s a caveman. He makes it up to her later without apologizing by seducing her once they get home. This is his Rhett Butler move – kiss women until they shut up. We used to sort of feel sorry for this guy, like just one week ago, right?

Glamour, lights, music: SMASH!

The Trifecta (Julia and Tom still count as one until they dissent, in our book) is meeting in another rehearsal room somewhere because at some point, they will have to actually cast other people for this show. Under consideration for Joe DiMaggio is Michael Swift, some actor who Julia’s worked with in the past. She seems sketchy about admitting this. The team needs to check him out in a Bruno Mars-inspired rock musical at La MaMa (which does a lot of fabulous downtown, indie theater in the East Village for those who aren’t acquainted). Of course this a great excuse for a musical number, showing “Grenade.” Michael (Will Chase) is rocking it, reminiscent of Adam Pascal.

Eileen and Derek meet afterward to discuss him at some swanky restaurant we know she can’t afford (not that she paid last time). Her husband is there again. Guys, there are so many restaurants in Manhattan, this is getting ridiculous. Stop going to the same three places you used to go with your ex, Eileen. We're starting to think you're asking for it. But he’s not here to harass her tonight, he actually wants to bug Derek about coming back to “My Fair Lady.” Karen’s the only person on this show who knows how to take no for an answer. Jerry does, however, manage to notice Eileen’s new earrings. Maybe if he’d paid that much attention to her before they wouldn’t be getting divorced right now? But commenting on them manages to get him ANOTHER FACE FULL OF EILEEN’S DRINK! Stop wasting martinis, Eileen, you are killing us, here! We’re going to need to start keeping account of your finances for you if you’re going to keep this up. Earrings bought: $50. Martinis wasted: $42. More Anjelica Huston screen time: PRICELESS.

Karen and her work friend are chatting about her opportunity to downgrade to the chorus of “M!TM.” Whoops – we mean the ensemble. Karen’s worried about losing shifts at work while she’s doing this workshop for very little money. She’s also taking time off for a baby shower in Iowa. Karen, they’re always having babies in Iowa, there will be another one! It’s time to start making important life choices about your art and your wallet. Real New Yorkers never go home more than once a year anyway. We like bitching about being here way too much to ever leave.

PA Ellis is disagreeing with Julia about whether or not a Sinatra-esque piece that Tom is writing has enough heart. She shoos him away to get the dry cleaning, which we all know by now is code for spying. Somehow Tom doesn’t manage to catch on this his wardrobe is whittling away each week and never coming back. Tom accuses Julia of not liking Ellis, and Julia accuses Tom of not liking Derek. “Those tigers that ate Siegfried and Roy were talented, too,” he miffs.

They’re at Tom’s apartment by the way; since we can hardly ever tell you where anything’s happening, we try to clarify that when we actually know. Julia’s making tea and insisting the Bruno Mars show will extend, so there’s no way Michael Swift (grandson to Jonathon, cousin to Taylor – what, we can make up stuff, too) can do the workshop. But Tom heard from the agents that the show’s closing. “Oh the agents, now there’s a reliable source!” Julia scoffs. From experience, that's a fair point. She really hates Michael for yet-unknown reasons, and suggests they just take Joe DiMaggio out altogether. Tom says that’s a great idea, they’ll just do the show without any men while they’re at it! Well, La MaMa would definitely host that, just sayin'.

Cutting to Swift on the floor with a rug rat that’s probably his son and a woman who’s probably his wife in a place that’s probably their apartment, we hear them exalting this great opportunity, even though it hasn’t been formalized and even though it’s only paying $200/week. In all fairness, Karen’s probably making three times that at her coffee shop. Yikes. Swift says he might pursue television instead, but his wife thinks that’s crazy. They’re ordering pizza for dinner and now I’m hungry. Rude.

Eileen is pitching “M!TM” to potential backers, but they’re wary to get involved without Jerry and with their producer’s own resources in escrow. But their doubt and scowls won’t dissuade ANJELICA HUSTON. They need to give this woman more to work with, we're three episode into the season and she's stuck on the same note.

Boyfriend tells Karen to go home and enjoy herself, and if she winds up needing money later then he’ll support her while she pursues her dreams. She says she’s ready to take that step yet.

Ellis sits on his rooftop in Brooklyn and brags to his friends that he gets to work for the great Tom Levitt. His mom knew Tom’s brother in college, apparently. And they mean “knew” in the biblical sense. That’s why he has no respect for his job, because it came too easily for him. Kids these days. His friend tells him that he should be paid for the idea of doing a Marilyn Monroe musical (even though Julia already told us in the first episode that she and Tom tried that idea in the past). We see Ellis snoop through Julia’s purse at some later date. Then we see Julia and Tom trying to figure out what the Marilyn and Joe scene should actually be about. They keep consulting the magic cork board, which we’re likening to Dr. House’s magic dry erase board. They just wanted the simple life, where they could act like any ol' Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Julia needs to take notes for this idea, but when she goes to grab her notebook from her purse she sees that it’s missing! Ellis slinks off with it, because otherwise we’d have no idea who took it, despite the fact that we saw Ellis taking it five minutes ago. Stop hand-holding, “Smash.” Please, we beg you.

Karen’s parents gossip about the fact that she didn’t get the part she wanted. They’re literally on the porch drinking iced tea, which is quaint. She explains what a workshop is and how little she’s getting paid. But she swears for the next two days she won’t even think about Broadway.

Next we’re seeing the same number from “HOE,” and once again everyone’s leaving while Ivy’s still hanging out in her dressing room because she lives in the closet in back. Actually, she does have a home somewhere, since she’s bitching that she never gets invited to Derek’s. So that lovely place we keep seeing her and Derek do the deed is actually her digs. On an ensemble member’s salary. NOT IN NEW YORK! Just as she's whining to all who will listen about her private love life, Derek does pop up to surprise her. He says she was terrific tonight and she says she looks like a duck in her costume. Then she and Derek get it on while her friends listen outside. Ew!

Ellis’ friend from the roof is actually his girlfriend. As much as he hates Julia, she was totally right that he’s straight! Even though this unnamed vixen egged him on about getting his dues before, she’s surprised to see that he actually stole Julia’s notebook. But she gets over that really fast and wants to go through it, too. She calls him a secret agent and this is a big turn-on, so they giggle down into the sheets together. Please don’t get anything on Julia’s lyrics, you guys. Double ew!

Swift is watching his son sleep and says he wants to be a good role model and supportive father, which sadly isn’t possible for actors. But Swift’s wife is all about him following his heart and setting an example by doing what he loves. Hopefully she makes good money then and can support him like Karen’s Boyfriend. Yay for well-off SOs! Where do we get one of those?

Swift is in Karen’s office to accept his part. He says she smells good. They were totally having a fling and are in danger of that happening again, because they have no impulse control and can’t keep it in their pants if they have to be in the same room together. Okay, this? This is how you’re not being a supportive dad, Swift. Won’t anybody think of the children?

ANJELICA HUSTON is … having a swanky dinner again. Someone needs to introduce her to Seamless or GrubHub so she can dine alone from the comfort of her bed like the rest of us. Diamond earrings are sent to her table, along with a Manhattan. Then her husband arrives. STOP GOING TO THAT RESTAURANT, OMG. Why is he stalking her? Why doesn’t she just get a restraining order? Why do we already dread finding out where that drink will inevitably wind up? He asks her to have dinner with him. She says “Go back to your blondes.” He says “They all blend together.” We think this is the motto of this show. Brunettes forever! Jerry says he’s going to help her produce the show. She says he’s only there because he got jealous. But she doesn’t need men to buy her jewelry and she doesn’t need anyone’s help producing “her” musical. AND THEN SHE BREAKS OUR HEART WITH A DRINK TO THE FACE. Sigh: $56. And she doesn’t even walk out with the earrings he just bought her, and they’re worth at least enough cocktails to get us through Season 2.

That “HOE” chorus boy that Tom likes to flirt with asked him to lunch, but Tom doesn’t know that it’s a date. The dude’s like, “If Ivy can date Derek, why shouldn’t I ask you out!” Tom, of course, is shocked by this news. It’s not a secret, the chorus boy swears. They’re having sex openly in the dressing room. Tom thinks this is highly unethical and believes that Derek is taking advantage of Ivy. But Julia thinks everyone sleeps around with everyone in showbiz (we’d say she’s projecting, but it’s also true). And anyway, maybe Ivy’s the one using Derek. There’s no way of knowing, and she thinks they have to worry about what’s happening onstage with this show, not what’s going on backstage.

Ellis walks into the middle of their fight and picks this as the time to confront Julia. She asks him to leave. He says she needs to watch her temper. She says she fired him once and she can do it again. Ellis reminds her that he doesn’t work for her, and the last time she tried to get him fired it didn’t work. He has a point there. This round goes to Ellis! He also returns her notebook, which he says he found ... under Tom’s mail.

Eileen is meeting with her potential financial backer, Manny. She’s at another restaurant with the same white tablecloths. He says he won’t do the show unless Jerry is helping her produce it. He doesn’t trust women with money or something. Just kidding, but still, what he said was close enough to that. Well, they haven’t even ordered yet, so this is going to be a long and awkward dinner for them both.

At the baby shower, there’s karaoke. Because we haven’t had enough singing in this episode yet. Karen is nudged onto the stage by her friends, who’ve picked “Redneck Woman” for her to perform. Between the sweet tea and the country music, we’re not sure Ms. Rebeck knows where Iowa is, but heads up, it’s not actually in the South.

Ivy asks why she’s never invited to Derek’s place. He says his neighbors are doing construction on the building. He has no gas in the apartment and his kitchen’s a wreck, he says. She believes him because she’s just that naïve. Or maybe she doesn't – her face kind of falls after she laughs it off. Men love clingy, needy women, Ivy. You should stick with that tactic. Meanwhile, we’re paying more attention this time and it looks like her bedroom is, no joke, about the size of our entire apartment. We hope that’s a studio, but it’s still probably $3,000/month.

Julia and Tom make up; she confesses that she used to sleep with Michael Swift. It was just a show crush, she swears. You know how it’s super hot when someone’s insanely talented? Can’t deny that. For some reason the episode actually shows her having a clichéd romantic moment with Swift on the Brooklyn Bridge. We don’t like that they’re making it seem sweet instead of spontaneous. Who is “picking up the laundry” right at that very moment? Ellis! He heard everything. Including that part where Julia and Tom made up by kissing on the lips. Triple ew!

Back in Iowa, under the star-spangled banner that’s waving from the front porch, Karen and her dad say goodbye. He gives her a huge check so that she can do this workshop without relying on Boyfriend. Rich parents and a rich beau, how nice Karen. You’re also talented and beautiful. Being the modest underdog isn’t really enough to make us like you right now. The only reason we do is because you’re not sleeping with Derek, unlike some people.

Then we learn that her dad actually followed Karen and her friends to karaoke because it’s been so long since he’s heard his daughter sing. And he stayed out so late that he skipped church the next morning. But he never said hello or anything, he just lurked in the back of the bar and stared at the girls onstage. Why is this episode so filled with squicky grossness? Maybe he and Ivy deserve one another!

Ivy and Swift sing “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” The show cuts from the recording room to the stage where our characters are in complete costume. They’re in front of a huge house facade, although this three-minute number wouldn’t get its own giant set piece in real life. Especially not with Eileen’s trouble raising money for a workshop, let alone a fully staged show.

While singing, Swift makes lovey-dovey eyes at Julia. We see scenes of Julia’s mundane home life spliced between shots of the studio and shots of the stage. Well, there’s one “simple life” that’s not going to last long. Maybe Julia’s husband and Karen’s Boyfriend need to start hanging out. We feel like they might need to be consoling each other pretty soon. With hugs and maybe even kissing on the lips, if this icky episode has anything to say about it.

Next week Nick Jonas guest stars, so we're pretty hopeful they will tone down the grossness substantially. Then again, Tom also goes on a first date with his much-younger chorus boy admirer, so it may be a wash. Either way, Anjelica Huston is finally taking a step forward with her storyline, so we can't wait!

Latest From ...
Most Popular From ...